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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta

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Here in Florida, we have a local restaurant and bar that serves this dish. Every time we go I always order the Cajun Chicken Pasta. I just love it so much I needed to recreate it at home. I will say that there is some butter that goes into the making of this dish, but that’s part of the reason it’s so delicious. I think once and a while it’s alright to indulge in a rich and decadent dish!

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Ready less than 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: cast iron skillet and a deep sided saute pan.

Ingredients:
4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
1-1/2 boxes of linguine
1 pint of sliced button mushrooms
4 seeded and diced plum tomatoes
1 finely minced shallot
3 finely minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup of dry white wine
3 tablespoons of olive oil
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 cup of low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese ( reserve 1/2 cup for garnishing each serving)
Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:
In a cast iron skillet, start by melting butter and olive oil. To the skillet add the finely minced shallot and sliced mushrooms. On medium heat, saute the mushrooms and shallots for about 3-5 minutes. Next, add in the minced garlic, and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add in 1/4 cup of white wine and let this all simmer together until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are brown. This process should take another 7-10 minutes. While the mushrooms are simmering and browning, seed and dice 4 plum tomatoes. Transfer the sauteed mushrooms, shallots and garlic with the diced tomatoes to the bowl and mix together.

Place 4 boneless-skinless chicken breast, that have been patted dry, in a large resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika to the bag. Let all the air out of the bag and seal it up. Using your hands, massage the chicken so all the seasoning coats the chicken.

Using the same skillet the mushrooms were cooked in, preheated on the stove on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Let the butter melt and move the butter and oil around in the skillet to coat the entire bottom. Next, place the 4 seasoned chicken breast into the skillet. Cook the chicken breasts for 5-7 minutes per side until almost tender. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside for a minute.

In a large pot, start to get the pasta water ready. Turn the pot on med-high heat to bring the water up to a boil. While that’s happening, slice the chicken breast on the bias.

in a deep sided saute pan with a lid, start the sauce for this dish. On medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter ( this may seem like a large amount of butter, but there is a lot of pasta going into this dish. The pasta needs to be well coated) along with 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning and 1 tablespoons sweet paprika. Add 1/2 a cup of low sodium chicken broth. Let this come to a bubble. Reduce the heat to med-low and pour in 1/4 cup of  heavy cream. Whisk the sauce together, then add the sliced chicken into the sauce. Let the sauce and chicken simmer for 10-12 minutes ( enough time to cook the pasta), on med-low heat, while the pasta cooks.

When the pasta is al dente,  transfer the linguine to the pan with the chicken, along with 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Turn the heat off and toss together until all the pasta is coated and the chicken is mixed through.The pasta will immediately start to absorb the sauce. Serve in a pasta bowl and garnishing with fresh Italian flat leaf parsley and another sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese. If the dish is not being served right away, place the lid.

 

 

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Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine

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Talk about a quick and fast cooking pasta dish, shrimp scampi over linguine is fast and easy to make. Now there is a little bit of prep time in preparing the shrimp, but it’s super easy. You can prep the shrimp in advance and keep them on ice, in the frig, until your ready to make the dish.

When you go to buy your shrimp, you’ll see numbers like 16-20 count. This just means there are about 16-20 in a pound. As you can see they’re a nice large shrimp for this dish.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt plus 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of minced garlic (8 cloves)
1 Fresno chili seeded and finely minced
2 pounds of large shrimp ( about 32 shrimp) peeled and deveined
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 lemon, zest grated
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 juicy lemons)
1 lemon thinly sliced in rounds

Directions:
Start by prepping the shrimp for the recipe. Once shrimp are ready, place a large pot on the stove filled with water. When the water is at a fast boil, add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt in. Next add in the linguine and cook for about 7-10 minutes.

In a large sauté pan melt butter and olive oil over med low heat. Add the garlic and Fresno chili for about a minute. Note: You want to be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the shrimp to the pan, with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.. Saute until shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes or so, stirring regularly.

Remove the pan from the heat, add chopped parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon slices.

When linguine is done, drain the cooked pasta, place into a large serving bowl. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce over the pasta. Toss well and serve.

 

 

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Pan Seared Gnocchi

 

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Potato #gnocchi is a great side dish, but what about as the main dish. I wanted to rethink how I could make these delicious billowy cloud- like dumplings into something with a little more texture. I thought about changing the cooking process to a more Asian style technique.

The traditional way to cook them is to drop them into boiling salted water. when they float to the surface they’re done.  When you cook with Asian dumplings they are sometimes pan- fried, first to give that crunchy exterior, then a splash of water is added, the lid is placed on, and they finish by steaming. This allows for the inside to have a creamy texture.

I decided to give this technique a try with gnocchi.  For this challenge, rather than making the gnocchi from scratch, I decided to buy a good store- bought brand. It turns out, my grocery carries fresh potato gnocchi.

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2015-05-15 13.40.53


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time Total: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 each of red and yellow bell pepper, small dice.
2 grated garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes ( more if you like it spicy)
1 package of potato gnocchi
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (more if you like)
Flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish

Directions:
In a preheated sauté pan add olive oil. On medium heat, cook the bell peppers for 2-3 minutes.  Season with Kosher salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add in the grated garlic and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes, stirring ocassionally. This next stage goes pretty fast. In another large sauté pan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the entire package of gnocchi to the pan. Brown the gnocchi on the one side for 2-3 minutes. Don’t disturb them. The gnocchi needs a chance to brown and caramelize. Once that’s happens, using a spatula,  flip them and saute for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.

Next, add the water. The gnocchi will start to steam. Immediately place on a tight fitting lid (preferably a glass lid). Once all the water evaporates  about 2 minutes, remove the gnocchi from the heat.

Transfer the gnocchi to a large serving bowl. Then grate the cheese over the top and garnish with Italian flat leaf parsley. Serve hot.

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Strawberry Tarts With French Pastry Cream

Strawberry Tart With French Pastry Cream

These Strawberry Tarts With French Pastry Cream are easy to make but elegant enough to WOW your guests.

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Strawberry Tart With French Pastry Cream

Yields: 6 individual tarts
Equipment: 6 individual 4 1/2 inch tart pans with removable bottoms, 2 baking sheet pans, electric mixer with paddle attachment
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Cook Time: 45 minutes
Note: If making your own pie crust, the time of this recipe will vary ( tip: make pie crust the day before)

Ingredients:
1 quart whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeded, reserve vanilla pod
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 box store-bought pie crust
24- 26 strawberries, hauled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup apricot jelly
1 tablespoon water
fresh mint sprig for garnish

Directions For Pie Crust:
Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out the dough and fit into the tart pans with removable sides. Do not stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

Directions For Pastry Cream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, add the cornstarch. In a saucepan, on med-low heat add milk vanilla seeds and pod.  Bring the milk up to the *scalding point.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Do this until mixture thickens, 5-7 minutes. Don’t worry when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes. The custard will come together and become very thick, pudding-like. Add pure vanilla extract, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl to ensure there the custard is completely smooth. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

To serve, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the top of the tarts. Garnish with small sprig of fresh mint.

*Scalded milk:
Scalded milk is right before the boiling point. Bubbles appear around the outer edge of the liquid and stay there continuously.

Click the link below for my recipe on homemade pie crust.

Homemade Pie Crust

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